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Chicago Firehouse Makes Its Return in January

John Caputo (Bin 36, Labriola Ristorante & Café) will take over the kitchen, along with 80 percent of the former staff.

The Firehouse Restaurant, pictured in 2006   Photo: Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune

Enough with all the somber news of end-of-year restaurant closures. Here’s the perfect antidote, compliments of Chicago Firehouse (1401 S. Michigan Ave., South Loop).

Two years after a fire devastated its landmarked building, the longstanding steakhouse has risen from the ashes and will reopen—“enhanced,” according to principal Matt O’Malley—in January.

O’Malley says the DNA of the place remains intact, and certain design elements, such as parts of the original tin ceiling, were reconstructed. Enhancements include a landscape mural in the dining room, mimicking the type of décor that was en vogue in 1905 when the building was erected. “We are making an effort to put history back in,” he says.

Food-wise, expect a very similar steakhouse menu, with minor tweaks from incoming chef John Caputo (Bin 36, Labriola Ristorante & Café).

The most feel-good morsel of all: about 80 percent of the staff will return, including every single busser (save for one, who passed away) who started with the restaurant 18 years ago. “With everyone coming back, we know it’s a culture that works. There have been a lot of small miracles,” O’Malley says.

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